Crosman 101 multi-pump pneumatic

by B.B. Pelletier


Crosman’s old model 101 was a very successful pneumatic.

When Crosman began making air rifles in 1923, they quickly settled on an underlever design that was to be in the inventory for the next 25+ years. From 1925 into the early 1950s, the Crosman .22 caliber model 101 or “Silent,” as it’s sometimes called in advertising, was a popular pump rifle.

No model number on the gun
The 101 is a strange bird. First…there is no model designation on the gun. Second…because most parts interchange, you will find all sorts of parts variations on the guns today. Finding an original 101 is as hard as finding an original Garand rifle from World War II. And, it has the same problem: How can you prove that it’s original?

The earliest successful underlever design
Today, we take the underlever pump for granted, but until Crosman invented it in 1924, people pumped their guns with a bicycle pump rod that extended from the front of the gun. Even Crosman’s first model is a front pumper. The second model introduced the underlever that’s been the standard ever since. It’s so “right” that when companies like Daystate and Sharp fiddle with it by using a sidelever, they only do themselves harm. Apparently, the underlever is the one right way to pump an airgun!


The receiver looks vintage, which it is, of course. Notice that the cocking knob is unscrewed several turns to take pressure off the valve. The rifle can store air indefinitely this way.

Cocking and loading are separate
One interesting quirk of the 101 is that the bolt only opens the breech to accept the pellet. To cock the rifle, a separate cocking knob must be pulled back. The gun must be cocked or it will not accept a pump – unless you follow this tip: Partly unscrew the cocking knob so the mainspring is not pressing against the exhaust valve, and you can pump the gun uncocked. This trick is also good for leaving two pumps of air in the gun between shooting sessions to keep the valve free from dirt. After you ride the cocking handle down – following the two pumps of air, unscrew the knob and the gun will remain sealed for years!

Several subtle design changes
The guns may have looked the same, but they didn’t have the same valves. The early valves were known as troublemakers, and repair stations quickly replaced them as soon as a better design became available. Barrels and pump tubes can be made of either brass or steel. Because of the ease of parts swapping, there is no sure way to know when one type ended and another began. Rear sights vary a lot, and the newest ones are the best, in a strange twist of fate. They are all aperture-type, which makes for greater precision.

The “clickless” rubber pump handle
In the 1940s, Crosman introduced a pump handle that was supposed to not click when it banged against the pump tube. As this material dried out over the years, it became as hard as any hardwood and clicks just as loud! The rubber pump handle is an ugly red color that really looks sad on an otherwise attractive airgun.

They also made a .177
The .177 version, called the model 100, was made from 1940 to 1950 and is rarer than the 101, usually fetching about 20 to 50 percent more money. A nice 101 shooter today brings $80 to $100 at an airgun show, while a 100 will often bring $125 to $150.

The gun shown here didn’t hold air when I bought it for $50 at an airgun show. I sent it to Dave Gunter, who resealed it and made the valve more efficient and gave me more velocity. I get about 710 f.p.s. with .22 Premiers on eight pumps. That’s cookin’ for a vintage multi-pump!

I still shoot my rifle more than many of my other pellet guns. Perhaps that says it best – this is one sweet air rifle.

84 thoughts on “Crosman 101 multi-pump pneumatic


  1. You mentioned an airgun show. Is there a list of places and dates that airgun shows are happening next year? The information that I could find was sketchy at best. Thanks in advance!

    Matt


  2. Matt,

    There are several shows around the eastern partt of the United States. I will compile a list of them and put it into a blog for everyone.

    There are no more shows for this year, and the first show that I know of won’t happen until the end of April, so there is plenty of time.

    B.B.


  3. Nice oldie, it has a good look, and the variences give em all a different flavor…except that rubber forstock, sounds harsh.

    Anyways, I have a cheap chinese para style with that same cocking setup. But it doesn’t unscrew. You probably know it BB, some sell it as the XS-B5. I like the sence of storing pumpers under pressure but was worried about wearing out the hammer spring. Am I doing more harm than good by releasing the trigger and slowly easing the hammer to a more relaxed position?

    Turtle



  4. I have one of these early 101s. It looks exactly like the one shown in your article except mine does have a seril number stamped on it. I purchased a blue book of values but could not tell how old mine is. It does have a brass barrel. It is in original contition other than the loss of some of the black paint. I had it resealed but would not allow them to re furbish the gun for fear the loss of value. Mine does have a peep sight. How do you tell when it was produced.
    Earl


  5. Earl,

    Well, it’s not easy, but here goes. If you have the peep sight with knurled rings on both sides of the stalk, that was the last sight Crosman made. Your gun would be late 1940s to early 1950s. The cocking knob shown on mine is the last style they made – also from the same era. The last models tended to have thicker wood butts as mine does.

    In Blue Book you can see the pellet-shaped cocking knob. That was earlier and maybe the first. The small thin ring knob was very early.

    Brass barrels show up at different times, but I believe, as Blue Book states, that Crosman made them. If they were out of barrels for any reason, they could have bought a few thousand from Remington to keep production going, and Remington probably made steel, so brass and steel show up interspersed.

    That’s a peep sight on mine, but it’s an older, cheaper version.

    That’s about it. It’s difficult to pin these things down exactly, but from what you say, your gun sounds like one of the last ones made.

    B.B.



  6. Hello, I have four of these rifles. I think the oldest is a 102 Clickless. The rest are 101′s; all with the pellet trade mark. Two have copper barrels, one steel. The steel has a bent bolt and the nicer peep site. I have not seen the bent bolt on other rifles. All of them shoot great for their age. Jim in FL.




  7. I have been trying to find information about my beloved first airgun, a Crosman .22 that closely resembles the current Sheridans.

    It was manufactured in the 70′s (?)and was a multipump, bolt action single shot with a short barrel and a walnut stock.

    Unlike the Sheridans, it did not have a bulge in the forestock and the rear sight had a ratcheted slide to adjust windage. The bolt did not extend past the receiver when pulled back for loading.

    This gun was a real treasure and very accurate. It made all of my friends with Crosman 760′s green with envy because of it’s power, being .22 caliber, it’s accuracy, and because it looked lik a “real” gun in proportions and the wood stock. I remember watching BB’s from a 760 bounce off a pidgeon, and then shooting this Crosman – the pidgeons were knocked backwards and never required a second “mercy” shot.

    Unfortunately this gun was stolen from me 20 years ago. When I decided to get back in to pellet guns I intended to just get another one of these. After I realised they were not available, I got a Gamo Shadow 1000 instead. I am happy with the Gamo, but I got excited when I discovered the Sheridans on PyramidAir.com and thought I had found it – especially when I saw the Crosman connection.

    Turns out they aren’t the same gun after all. Maybe mine was a Crosman imitation of the Sheridans. I feel that it was an all time classic and it would still be a relevant gun if still available.



  8. I was just handed down a Crosman 101 that sounds just like what you are talking about…mine has a sn number on the pump swing arm…is there a way to tell when this was manufactured.

    thanks

    db


  9. db,

    I haven’t heard of a sn on Crosman 101s before. The way to tell when your gun was made comes from the Blue Book of Airguns. It can get your gun into a general category of a decade, or sometimes better.

    B.B.


  10. The gun looks just like yours except it has a larger back site and has a slider wedge on the side to adjust the back site up and down…The serial number that I am referring to is stamped on the swing arm of the pump handle…

    Thanks for your fast response.

    db


  11. db,

    The larger rear sight is a later sight. It has two knurled pieces on the eyepiece that are loosened to adjust the eyepiece from side to side. That places your rifle in the late 1940s, but since that sight can be installed on any gun, this is not for certain.

    Does your rifle have a wooden forearm or a red plastic one? And are there any dates in the circular emblem cast into the right side of your receiver?

    Also, describe the shape and size of the cocking knob.

    B.B.


  12. The cocking knob has 5 groves three are together in the middle…The rifle has a wood stock and forearm…there is no date in the emblem…the only number on the rifle is the one stamped on the swing arm which is 912849…The shape of the forearm looks alot like yours except mine isnt sloped at the top mine is more right angled.

    db


  13. b,

    For certain you have one of the last 101s made. It was made in the late 1940s or even as late as 1950.

    Is the stock blond (maple) or walnut? Is the comb high or low? Is the pistol grip checkered?

    B.B.


  14. It is walnut and the pistol grip is smooth..It has a steel plate on the butt of the stock. It also has a bent bolt.

    db


  15. db,

    I don’t know about the bent boilt. I’ve never encountered one, and I’ve seen at least 500 of this model.

    The walnut stock adds 10 to 15 percent to the gun’s value, which runs from $70 to 150, depending on condition. That’s for a working gun.

    By the way, to store a pump of air in this model, unscrew the cocking knob so there is no tension on the valve when the rifle is uncocked.

    B.B.


  16. Hello, You learn something new every day. My newest 101 has the bent bolt. See posting above. Mine and db’s are the only ones I’ve seen or heard of. I checked my swing arm and there is a number! I hadn’t noticed it before. 68806 The receiver has a 951 stamped into the front where the stock closes. It also has the later sights. My other 101′s have letters and numbers stamped in the the top of the receiver at the breech. One has an LA, the other has 49C. My 102 is clickless and has RG 4 5569 Stamped into the front of the receiver like the newer 101. Jim in FL





  17. I think I have a Crosman 101 multi-pump pneumatic pellet gun in good condition. I have not test fired it and would assume that it will need a new pump (rubber etc). It looks exactly like the one shown in your article. There is no seril number. I can unscrew the knob you cock the gun like yours.
    How old is your gun? and would anyone be interested in buying my gun.
    My email is pacegame@nwol.net
    Thanks Jim


  18. Jim,

    My gun was made late in the 1940s. The auction sites

    auction arms.com
    gun broker.com

    are the places to sell your gun.

    B.B.


  19. Great site. I seem to have a model 101. Straight bolt, peep site (single screw top and side) no numbers, maple stock (tiger or birdseye) wooden forstock. It needs restoration. Any info or suggestions appreciated. Thanx



  20. I was just given a Crossman “Silent Rifle” from my Father he has had it for over 60 years after it was given to him as a Christmas Present when he was a child.

    I am not sure of the model number it must be a 100 or a 101 It looks the same as the photo you posted however it seems to be a 177 cal.

    The peep site in the rear is adjusted by two regular screws that you loosen then slide the site.

    It does have the Crossman seal on the receiver with a pellet in the center. The only other markings are a number on the pump lever 210 K
    It has the steel barrel

    The rifle does needs some work as it will not hold air in the cylinder
    Is this a 100 or a 101?

    Here are some photos if the link works
    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bluebellyday/album?.dir=66e0&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos


  21. Joe,

    A .177 is the model 100 and the 101 is the .22. These numbers were never put on the guns.

    Try George Pena for resealing the gun.

    B.B.


  22. Thanks for your help
    I am wondering if it is better to have it brought back to factory specs or have the work done to improve performance.


  23. Joe,

    I have had both done to 101s and I definitely like the factory spec guns better. They develop about 13 foot-poundsw which isn’t too shabby. The others are too hard to pump, in my opinion.

    B.B.


  24. just got a model 101, it holds air with knob screwed in most of the time. sometimes leak air when pumped. unscrewed knob to see how that works.

    suspect mine is an early version in reasonable working condition. knob has five bands, serial number on pump bar is 4586M

    NICE article!


  25. I just got a crosman 22 from a friend that looks kind of like the picture but has no markings on the reciver. It says on the top block Crosman 22, Oct 28 1924, Patents pending. This gun has some sort of tube on the left of the reciver that you load pellets into and when you work the bolt a little thing slides out the left side of the gun and it looks like it feeds the pellet into the chamber. You can not see the chamber with the bolt back. I looked on the pump swing arm and the serial # there is 2023 p. I’m trying to figure out what gun this is. The Cosman site has info but its pretty vague on the older guns. Any ideas? I would appreciate any help. Thanks



  26. Hello Dave
    Nice looking 101. I have one as well. Not as Nice looking as your’s but very effective. Mine was taken into Crosman Arms in West Bloomfield, New York by a friend whom will remain name less due to his Upper managment position there. Mine was getting sluggish, and he had one of the older guys take care of it.I am not certain what all was done to it, but I have Chrono graphed it at an amazing 820 FPS !That was with 20 Pumps and using the Daisy Game point ammo. i have killed many Barn Pigeons with it, along with squirells, chipmonks,and it goes straight through all without a problem. Mine has a rear sight base like your’s but the small Circle eye piece was lost years ago, when the tiny screw loosened and fell out during a wood chuck hunt I was on. I had a gun smith replace it with a V-Notch style and it is deadly accurate.This is how I came to get mine. My Father was a Cop back in the Mid 50s and took this rifle from a Punk who was shooting out the Parking lot lights of a shopping Mall in Rochester New York back then, in the Twon Of Greece.He brought it home in the back of his Patrol car, and it remained locked up until I matured enough to have some safe gun handling sense. It was given to me at a much later date I would say 1966 or so, and I grew up shooting it, and still have it. Mine has the same looking Bolt as yours and the steel barrel, but Like I said Much more wear. It came to me with a chunk missing out of it’s wood stock, and forend, but this never bothered me as it is a great shooter. Thanks for the Pictures and pointers on this classic killer pump 101 Crosman. Regards, Kurt.



  27. Have you ALWAYS stored the gun with a pump of air in it? If not, your seals have dried out and must be replaced.

    You might try oiling the pump cup with Crosman Pellgunoil to see if that helps revive the seals, but if not, you need an overhaul.

    This man is the least expensive and does a great job:

    George Pena
    George is at heligun1@msn.com or 512-863-2951.

    B.B.




  28. Is there anyone who sells parts for the air system that “fit”?

    I paid a ransom for a cup washer and seals and none of them fit.

    My 101 was a birthday gift in 1949.


  29. Hi anonoymous,

    You need to contact Rick Welnicker at 717-382-1481 or E-Mail him at airgunshop@Aol.com. He can help you out.

    The blog you left your post on was written in 2005. B.B. does a daily blog at http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/ where alot of air gun folks trade ideas, etc. Come check us out and please let us know about your Crosman 101. I had one back in the mid 50′s that I really enjoyed shooting.

    Mr B.


  30. What a great resource! I was just trying to find out something about these to rid myself of some squirrels when I noticed there are no rear sights on mine. There is side provision to mount some but they are missing. It holds air well, although I have not chronographed it yet. I have two sets of numbers one on the pump arm 10991j and on the front of the reciever where the pump arm nestles in next to the barrel is stamped 851. This is a 22 cal so I assume it makes it a 101 but would be curious as to approximate production time and where I might secure a rear sight. Peep would be preferable.

    TIA
    Dick D


  31. Dick D,

    The Crosman peep sight is proprietary, so nothing else will fit. However, it is also very simple and a good craftsman should be able to make one easily.

    I'm going to do a new report series on the 101 and I will focus on the rear sight for you. Watch the daily blog here:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/

    I will start this new report this coming week, maybe around Wednesday.

    B.B.



  32. Does anyone know of a source for a Breech Bolt for a Crosman 101? somewhere along the line the bolt came out and was lost.

    I have a 101 AND A 102, the 102 won't hold air and I have never shot it.



  33. The Old Man,

    Try Rick Willnecker in PA at http://www.airgunshop.net/

    You posted your question on a blog that was written in 2005. B.B. writes a daily blog Mon-Fri. You should probably post there also. You'll reach a much larger group of knowledgeable friendly people there who might have other suggestions for you.

    Hope to see you there!
    Mr B.



  34. I need parts for my Crosman rifle. It has a brass barrel, mahogony(?) stock and 14755 stamped on the top of the breech. The side stamp is Crosman Arms Company, Made in U.S.A, patented Rochester N.Y..
    It would be nice to know what it is, it's caliber and where I cna get seals.
    Any help appreciated.


  35. pncramirez,

    Your first job is to identify which model Crosman rifle you have. Nobody can tell you what parts you need without knowing the model, and often, which variation of the model you have.

    Parts are available for most of the older Crosman guns. Here is one of the best sources, once you know what you have:

    Rick Willnecker in PA. Contact him at http://www.airgunshop.net/ or call 717-382-1481.

    Rick can also fix the gun, which is often the better way of doing it.

    B.B.


  36. B.B. Pelletier, I was wondering if you might know the location of Dave Gunter. I sent him my 101 for repair over 8 months ago but have never heard back. Now I can not seem to be able to contact him. Dose anyone know him?








  37. I have an all original 101 in top shooting condition. It was purchased new and given to my father by my uncles after they came back from WW2. I believe that was about 1946/47. I've shot this rifle since I was about 6 years old and I still shoot it today and I'm now 68 years old. The gun is in excellent condition and has never needed repair as I keep it clean and lubed. I suspect after I'm gone that my daughter will continue to use it well into the future.




  38. Nick, yes, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of different .22 pellets still available. You CAN shoot a .177 pellet through it without hurting it, but why on earth would you want to? Velocity will be low, accuracy will be horrible, and if you point the gun downward after loading it the pellet will fall out.



  39. I have a 101 that was given to me in 1954 and it's now nearly 2012, by a gent who had it given to him 20 years before by his father who had it for shooting squirrels around the house.

    it's been oiled periodically over the years and paint touched up, It has a painted barrel, its in good to better shape with original sites etc. Guess what it still pumps, holds air and works near as new.

    My brother and I hunted the Ohio woods in the 50's with this rifle and took hundreds of rabbit with it. It made us both excellent marksmen to this day. We learned a trick to get multi-shots. We'd pump it to perhaps 12-15 times and back off the cocking barrel hammer a few turns. When fired the vales would close before all the air escaped and we could get a lower power second shot off in time to save the kill.

    We'd also back the barrel with a scrape of wet paper and push it in with the bolt, then add 8-10 BB's, followed with small wet paper plug in the barrel tip. We now had a bird shot gun for taking dove and quail. We were inventive if not dangerous!

    This rifle was so much fun to use, now it shares space with M1 carbine, and AR15's.



  40. If your 101 is working and holding air it is worth about $80 in beater condition and $300 in excellent original condition. If it has been refinished and is still excellent it is worth about $150.

    B.B.


  41. Hi
    I have a 101 OSS variant 0.22 Ball repeater, possibly only surviving out of 2000 made and shipped to Rangoon.
    Any one interested and ready to pay, kindly contact swajansen@gmail.com .

    Valve, Hammer and Breach assembly were missing now restored, but air leaking.

    All other parts original and intact.

    Barrel made of brass and body antimony.
    Again it is not Pallet but BALL of 0.22

    regards


  42. I have an orignal 101 Crosman 22 he cal. air rifle I brought it when I was 8 years old. I am 75 now The gun held air until last year. I put oin in it and I think it stuck everthing up I just think it needs cleaning


  43. Hal,

    The oil might have allowed some dirt to stick to one of the seals. Or it might have disintegrated the seals, depending on what kind of oil it was.

    This man can fix your gun for you:

    Ron Sauls
    http://www.airgunbna.com
    864-261-6810

    B.B.


  44. Found a Crosman Pump rifle in the pre-1900 house we have. No model number. Looking online, I believe it to be a Model 101 with a five-ring cocking knob, but I’m not real sure. A .22-caliber lead bullet fits in receiver, but not the shell casing. So — could be .177 variant?

    Thing is, although it seems to pump up fine etc., it’s missing the bolt.

    Anyone have a clue where I could get one?
    Many Thanks




  45. Excellent article. I was impressed by the detail and passion shown.
    Today I was given one of these rifles from a recent widow who asked me to take care of it since it was her husbands for many years. He passed at age 76. I started some research to find out more about it and found your well informative article. Thanks for posting it.
    I’m not exactly sure what I have but it looks exactly like the one in the picture you posted. Looking at the rifle I do see a few things I will point out. On the bolt where you cock it it has five rings one on each end and three in the middle. From where it’s worn (the paint) I see both the barrel and pump tube are brass. It has the adjustable peep sights and a handle where you pull to open the chamber to insert the pellet as shown in your picture. I believe the stock and cocking handle are Mahogany.(not sure) On the side it’s stamped Crossman Arms Company Patented Rochester New York with a pellet stamped in the middle. There are no numbers shown anywhere as some of the previous posts have identified. I’m not sure of the caliber and would’nt know how to tell at this point. After ensuring it was clear I cocked it, squeezed the trigger as I rode the bolt forward. The spring seemed to work fine but I have not let it go freely yet as I was not sure if it was bad for the rifle or not, as well as I’m not familiar with it. It does appear not to hold air.
    I will refer to the gentlemen you recommended for repairs. Again thanks for providing that information as well. If you have any ideas or comments I’d appreciate them.

    Thanks
    Don


    • Don,

      The cocking piece with the five rings tells me your 101 (if it’s a .22 and a 100 if it is the rarer .177 is a late model from the 1940s.

      As for posting comments on the website, scroll to the bottom of the article and read the small print at the bottom. Those works are all links, and the one that says Comments takes you to the comments for that article.

      Welcome to the blog!

      B.B.


  46. I noticed I failed to indicate what rifle I was looking at in my post above. I believe I may have the Crosman 101 multi pump air gun. Again I’m not sure and look forward to your thoughts.

    I reviewed your other site as you recommended to the other gentleman but did not see how I could make a post or comment as you have that option here.

    Thanks,
    Don


    • Don,
      Have you tried cocking it before pumping it? Dy firing it probably won’t hurt it but lubrication is very important! Do you have any pellgun oil?

      Reb


  47. Thanks for the response and the welcome. I appreciate both.
    I don’t have Pellgun Oil but I have CLP. I also have Outfitters Gun oil/rust preventative if that will do. If not I’ll stop by BassPro and pick up the Pellgun oil if you suggest.

    I did dry fire it with one pump to see if it would hold air and it sounded like it actually did release pressure from the barrel. I did not want to try anything further until I conducted some research.

    The rifle seems to be in decent shape with the wear you’d expect but definitely needs to be cleaned as it was in a moist basement. Very little rust which is located on the screw of the sight. Other than that no more is visible. Will CLP be okay to use to clean all the metal parts even though some pieces are brass?

    Finally, what would be the best way to determine the caliber? Do you suggest buying some of each size of pellet?

    Sorry for my lack of knowledge with this thing.

    Thanks.
    Don


  48. Thanks Gentlemen.

    Any recommendations on determining the caliber? I read earlier where someone mentioned using a 177 Cal or a 22 cal in the opposite type caliber. Is this correct? I don’t want to get one jammed in the barrel by using the wrong pellet.

    Thanks

    Don


    • If .22 fits then .177 would be way too small for accuracy, although I , B.B. and probably many others have accidentally shot .177 through .22 guns they don’t group well.


    • Don,

      Don’t use CLP! Use 10-30 weight motor oil or Pellgunoil, only.

      A .22 long rifle bullet will tell you the size of your rifle. Try to insert the bullet into the muzzle. If it almost fits, it’s a .22 If it’s a .177 the bullet is going to be too big.

      B.B.


      • I seem to remember that there was some question about using modern multi-weights because of their unknown effect on seals. Is this known to be a non-issue?


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